For many parents, weeknight family dinners can be hard to swing. Between kids’ commitments and parents’ work schedules, getting dinner on the table so you can all eat together is often a challenge.
There are, of course, innumerable tips for busy families to enjoy a meal during the workweek, as well as pointers on how to make the most of your dinnertime conversation with your child. But we also wanted to hear from the HuffPost Parents Facebook communityfor their tried and true advice for getting dinner on the table as a family as often as possible.
Not surprisingly, many readers avow the importance of meal prep, and there are some other gems here, too. Read on for more.
“Simple. We meal-prep. We decide our meals a week in advance. We take that extra time we would be wasting deciding dinner, and use it to converse and sit down. We eat together five to six nights a week. Sit down, at a table, no cellphones. In our house it’s an exciting thing to eat in the living room because it’s never done. So we make fun nights out of it.” ― Kryssy Elyse
“I have a 10-week menu rotation. On the weekend I pull out all the recipes for that week, see what ingredients we already have on hand, and throw the rest on the Walmart pickup app. I drive to get what I need for the whole week. I find that I’m much more likely to cook homemade food when I know what to make, have all the ingredients, and don’t have to make the dreaded stop to the grocery store. Plus, as the week goes on, you start to get hungry for what’s coming up.” ― Karen Miller
“I meal-plan for the week. I do one big grocery haul on Friday (grocery store and Costco) and then stop into the store again on Tuesday if we need a top-up of fresh stuff. I usually do one or two crockpot meals for the busier nights, and the rest of the week is cooked as I planned. My kids like to get involved, which I hope will develop into a love of cooking as they get older. And we sit at the table, no electronics, but we do have jazz on every night. We feel it helps with calming down and enjoying the meal together.” ― Adriana Leigh
“We meal-plan and shop over the weekend. Whoever is home and least busy around 5 takes ownership of dinner. If a kid has an activity the rest of us still sit and eat together. The Wi-Fi is off between 6 and 7 p.m. When I was in college and a working single mom, we rarely had dinners at home together. But I got up early and made a full breakfast and that was our daily meal together. :)” ― LaTisha Osborne Spice
“We plan ahead, as most are saying. Get what you can done early in the day … table set, salad made, recipe prep done and refrigerated.” ― Kathy Stamey
“To get the whole family of five involved, each chooses the menu for one meal. The other two nights are a restaurant with grandparents and leftovers!” ― Kelly Holt Nelms
“I batch-cook on weekends and double recipes like chili, soups and sauces and freeze one portion for another night” ― Jaime Ross
“Crockpot meals, pack a ‘picnic dinner’ to eat together in between practices at the Y.” ― Lauren Bechstein Printke
Quotes have been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.